Mark’s Blog

Have you ever heard someone ask ‘Where are you from?’ Or perhaps ‘Where were you born?’

We know what they mean but here’s the thing – they often won’t get the sort of answer they’re looking for and rightly so.

A better question is one I’ve been using a few times a week for over 20 years. “May I please know your cultural or ethnic background?” And it’s worked a treat.

I’ve never had anyone get annoyed or refuse to answer. I can honestly say I’ve had a 100% success rate.

Interestingly, about 5% ask me to guess. And I’ve even had a taxi driver add: If you get it right, the trip’s for free. (Just for the record: I got it wrong.)

So if the occasion suits, and you want to engage and make people feel proud of their heritage, try asking: What is your cultural or ethnic background? It works for me.

All the very best,


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